What to Avoid After a Tummy Tuck

Patients who have experienced a great deal of weight loss or have gone through childbirth can benefit from a tummy tuck procedure. While it is incredibly helpful for all of those who choose it, it is by no means a minimally invasive procedure, and it comes with a lengthy recovery period. 

As with any surgical procedure, there are certain activities that patients will have to avoid following the treatment. Refraining from engaging in these activities is not only important for the patient’s recovery but also for the safety of those around them. As planning one’s schedule ahead of surgery is incredibly important, patients would do well to know what activities they need to avoid following the procedure. 


Like many other surgeries, tummy tuck procedures in Houston most often involve general anesthesia. Following the treatment, patients will not be in a state that is suitable for driving. As such, patients will have to have someone pick them up and take them home from the procedure upon being discharged. The person that picks them up should also be able to stay with them for the first night to ensure that they are ok. Patients also have the option of staying overnight in the surgical center, if they wish. 

While the anesthetic is the primary concern, patients will need to refrain from driving even after it wears off. As patients usually take pain relievers following their treatment, they will want to wait until they go off them before getting behind the wheel again. In many cases, even patients who are not taking pain relievers avoid driving simply because they do not feel physically ready to do so. 

Eating salty foods 

As with any medical protocol, a tummy tuck procedure requires some lifestyle changes in order to elicit positive results. Foods that are high in salt, such as processed and frozen foods, must be limited for as long as possible. This is primarily due to the fact that patients will have a good amount of swelling in the treatment area following the procedure, and a heavy salt intake can exacerbate this.

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Anyone who has experience with surgical procedures already knows this one. All strenuous activity, including heavy lifting and cardio, must be avoided for several weeks. They should only be resumed once patients are given the go-ahead from their practitioner. 

That said, it is important that patients make sure to not become too sedentary during the recovery process. It is recommended that patients go on regular walks around their house sometime in the first week of the recovery period. Many patients find that they can’t move very far or even stand up straight during the first few weeks following their tummy tuck procedure, but they should try to take short walks every few hours if they are able to. This improves blood flow and expedites the healing process. 

Smoking and drinking

Ideal candidates for a tummy tuck procedure are non-smokers. Some patients quit temporarily for the procedure and intend to start again afterward. Even after the procedure is complete, patients should wait a few weeks before picking up the habit again. Smoking inhibits proper blood flow, which means that the incisions could take a bit longer to heal. 

Alcohol should also be avoided following the procedure. One of the main reasons for this is that it can interact with pain medications, leading to unwanted reactions. Another consideration is that alcohol is a blood thinner, and it can slow down the healing process. There’s also the fact that it’s incredibly dehydrating. Patients should refrain from drinking alcohol until they get the ok from their practitioner. 

Binding Clothing

One of the main reasons that women seek out this procedure is so that they can fit into the clothes they once loved to wear. Unfortunately, patients typically have to wait a while before they can do this, as there is swelling in the treatment area. Furthermore, patients must make sure not to wear overly constricting clothing during their recovery period, as it can irritate the incisions and prolong recovery time. 

It’s in the patient’s best interest that they stick to loose-fitting clothing during the first few weeks following the procedure. Considering that patients will be at home throughout most of this period anyway, wearing pajamas and other comfortable clothing is the most appealing option. Patients who want to avoid elastic bands putting pressure on their waist can wear a loose dress. 

The exception to this rule is compression garments. While they aren’t always required with an abdominoplasty, patients may be given one following their procedure. This is especially true for cases in which liposuction is involved. Compression garments help keep the area in a smooth, healthy shape. 

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Pets and ill people 

Following the surgery, it is a good idea to minimize the risk of infection as much as possible. This means that patients should avoid spending too much time around pets and steer clear of any individuals who present symptoms of illness. 

Following a tummy tuck procedure, it usually takes about two weeks for patients to get through the recovery process. By the six-week mark, patients are able to start getting active again and resume any activities that they previously put off. 

What is the takeaway?

Tummy tuck procedures are incredibly effective at resolving issues in the midsection. That said, prospective patients should educate themselves on what they need to avoid during the recovery phase to ensure that they achieve satisfactory results. As with any procedure, choosing the right surgeon is imperative. Dr. Vitenas has years of experience performing tummy tuck procedures and takes pride in helping patients get to where they want to be.